Treating cerebral palsy patients with umbilical cord stem cells brings significant improvements in their condition, a new study reports.
The researchers involved 36 children with cerebral palsy aged 6 months to 20 years in a double-blind randomized and placebo-controlled study. The children were treated either with umbilical cord blood stem cells or with a placebo. To assess the treatment's efficacy, the researchers measured muscle strength and gross motor function of the patients at months 1, 3, and 6 post-treatment. Also, they took blood samples to evaluate cytokine and receptor levels.
The trial has shown that the patients who were treated with umbilical cord stem cells demonstrated greater advancements in their muscle strength both at 1 and 3 months post-treatment and gross motor performance than the placebo group (Ps<0.05 and P<0.01, respectively).
PET scans also showed decrease in periventricular inflammation in patients treated with cord blood vs those who were treated with the placebo. The former group has also demonstrated improved motor outcomes and anti-inflammatory changes in the brain. Generally, the higher was the cell dose, the greater motor outcomes improved.
Though the results of this trial are rather inspiring, the future trials are needed to prove that umbilical cord blood stem cells can bring the long-term improvement to the condition of patients with cerebral palsy.